Is Loadshedding Making Your Anxiety Worse?

South Africa has been facing extreme loadshedding which is affecting the everyday life of ordinary people. Psychologists are starting to warn that load-shedding is having an impact on people’s mental health. The constant power cuts can cause anxiety and depression for many, as there are numerous consequences that come from loadshedding, which can include working fewer hours, therefore being paid less each month. And then there are others like rotting food in refrigerators, traffic congestion, children struggling to do their homework, and simply not being able to make that cup of coffee.

The Psychological Impact of Load Shedding

One of the biggest contributing factors that increase anxiety is the complete loss of control South Africans are feeling during these power cuts. As soon as you start to feel like you do not have control, anxiety may start and if this continues, it can become co-morbid with depression. The anxiety and depression can even be fatal, as at any point it could lead to suicide, since the individual is dealing with much more than the physical impact ofloadshedding.

It is important to understand that for some, loadshedding has much more than just a psychological impact. It becomes a matter of life or death for people who are on oxygen, especially if the schedule is constantly changing. People with medication that needs to be refrigerated at a constant temperature could have concerns for their health as the medication is impacted by varying temperatures. The soaring crime rate could lead us to living in fear as your alarm systems are triggered and nothing works around your home to keep you safe. Loadshedding has even reduced social interaction as people scramble to complete tasks when there is power.

Mental Health

There are not nearly enough discussions about mental health and the impact of load shedding. Many factors come into play, we feel very out of control with a system we do not trust, there are some who fear waking up in the dark and there is nothing that can be done.

Light is more than just light, is gives a sense of control and power, a sense of knowing where you are going and can manage the day even if the day is already uncertain to begin with. Even those without mental health issues are starting to feel the effects. Their view of the world changes and this can change into a sense of worthlessness and helplessness that can gradually impact your mental health.

Mitigating the Impact of Load Shedding

We should be more open about what we are feeling, and when you do this, you can learn new coping skills that others have learned. But ultimately, you realise that others are going through similar struggles, and this helps you not feel alone in trying to manage the situations around you. Loadshedding may be here to stay for a while, learning to talk about your struggles, will be a great help.